Concerning the return of in-person school, the Corbin Board of Education sent out the following notice Friday afternoon:
As stated in last night’s board meeting, the Corbin Independent School Board approved to allow in-person learning to resume next week. In compliance with this decision, the Corbin Independent School District will resume all three options (in-person, hybrid and virtual) beginning Thursday, October 8, 2020.
Based on the most current information that we have gathered from other school districts and health departments, and with the intent to maintain the safest environment for both students and staff, we have made the following changes to our current plans:
- In-person students will attend Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
- Hybrid Group A students will attend Monday and Tuesday (replacing Monday and Wednesday attendance) with virtual learning Wednesday through Friday
- Hybrid Group B students will attend Thursday and Friday (replacing Tuesday
- and Thursday attendance) with virtual learning on Monday through Wednesday
- All students will attend Virtual Learning on Wednesday
Starting next week, In-person and Hybrid Group B students will attend school on Thursday, October 8th and Friday, October 9th with all other students attending virtually on these dates.
The following week, October 12th -14th, In-person and Hybrid Group A students will attend school on Monday, October 12th and Tuesday, October 13th with all other students attending virtually on these dates. Wednesday, October 14th all students will attend virtual learning and school will be closed October 15th and 16th for fall break.
Each school will send out notification concerning school procedures such as drop off, temperature check, mask requirements etc.
We know that there have been a lot of recent changes made to our school plans and we appreciate our parents and students for their flexibility and support through this process. Our goal was to give parents a choice and we hope that the three options provided will meet your needs. We are truly excited to begin in-person learning and as always, we will do our best to ensure the safety of our students.
Corbin Independent Schools
Prior to the announcement Friday, the News Journal published the following report. Two paragraphs have been removed from the original report, as they provided information contradictory to the Corbin BOE’s revised plan for the resumption of in-person classes.
Despite Whitley County being well into the red zone by the state’s COVID–19 incidence rate measurement, the Corbin Board of Education voted unanimously during a special called meeting Thursday to begin the in-person learning option next week.
The school system will be using the plan originally announced in August, where parents/guardians may elect whether their student(s) attend classes in-person, virtually, or under the hybrid option.
Cox said despite the recent spike in new COVID–19 cases in Whitley County, the effect on students and staff in the Corbin School District has been minimal.
As of Thursday, there are 27 students and staff quarantined because of potential exposure, with four confirmed positive cases.
Cox added that he spoke with Laurel County Health Department Director Mark Hensley as the Laurel County School District elected to forego Gov. Andy Beshear’s recommendations and offered the in-person option beginning Sept. 3.
Cox said he asked Hensley if the school system’s decision had affected the number of new COVID–19 cases.
“He told me, ‘Absolutely none,’” Cox said of Hensley noting while there have been some spikes in the number of new cases, they were not related to students in school.
Board member Todd Childers said despite Whitley and Laurel Counties’ high numbers on the COVID–19 incidence report updated daily on the state’s COVID–19 website, he didn’t believe it was giving an accurate picture as it was based on a seven day average in the number of cases.
“Based on that, we could get into the red with a spike in new cases even though the overall community instance of active cases is very low,” Childers said, noting that the percentage of Whitley County and Laurel County’s respective populations that are active with COVID–19 is less than one-half-of-one percent.
Childers said the decision on whether a student attends in-person classes should be in the hands of the parent/guardian.
“Our job is to give them the information,” Childers said.
“Their job is to weigh their respective circumstances, knowing that virtual learning is an option.”
Cox cautioned parents that while opening up the in-person option is the best option for many students, it will ultimately result in some students and staff testing positive for COVID–19.
“We can’t go into this thinking we won’t have some positives,” Cox said. “We are going to have some positives among staff and students.”
Board member Carcille Burchette, a retired teacher, questioned what the district would do if a teacher was unable to work at school because a spouse or family member had been exposed to COVID–19, forcing the teacher to quarantine.
Cox said virtual learning has gone pretty well, and if a teacher was out in that situation and wanted to continue to teach from home, allowance would be made by moving the class to a computer lab and having a classroom monitor.
If the teacher is out and not available, Cox said classes such as Algebra I, where there are multiple teachers and multiple classes, the students could be brought into another classroom, virtually, while students attending in-person could be moved to other classes, temporarily.
Cox noted that there are almost 400 students who will be attending virtually, meaning there will be available staff members and room to accommodate additional students in another class.
In the elementary grades, Cox said multiple classes could be brought together, virtually.
“Our principals have been working on it,” Cox said.
At this time, Whitley County and Williamsburg Schools are still monitoring the situation on a week-to-week basis, and no formal plan to resume in-person classes has been announced. The News Journal will provide those details whenever they become available.